Yale University announced the winner of its inaugural Windham Campbell literature prizes. The award was established by a gift from the estate of writer Donald Windham and his partner Sandy M. Campbell.
The nine recipients each received $150,000. The fiction winners were James Salter, Zoë Wicomb, and Tom McCarthy.
Naomi Wallace, Stephen Adly Guirgis, and Tarell Alvin McCraney were recognized for their work in drama.
The non-fiction prizes were awarded to Jonny Steinberg, Adina Hoffman, and Jeremy Scahill.
Today we’ll talk with our exploration expert, Michael Robinson of the University of Hartford. He’s written about the great arctic explorers of the past, but his new book has him on his own voyage to the tops of giant mountains in Uganda, searching for a fabled “Lost White Tribe.” His book Lost White Tribe: Explorers, Scientists and a Theory of Race that Changed Africa will be out in 2015.
Robinson will be speaking about his research Monday February 25th at 1:30PM.
What is it about other people’s language that moves some of us to anxiety or even rage? For centuries, sticklers the world over have donned the cloak of authority to control the way people use words. Now this sensational new book strikes back to defend the fascinating, real-life diversity of this most basic human faculty.
Ralph Nader’s book “The Seventeen Traditions” was a postcard to his hometown - and the one where I now make my home - Winsted, CT. He wrote about small-town life and the lessons he learned in his father’s restaurant, in the local library, in the nearby woods.
His newest book builds on these traditions and presents “The Seventeen Solutions: Bold Ideas for our American Future.”
We’ve talked on this show about the decline of the book - about how new technology and shorter attention spans make it harder for fiction writers to get their stories out in the “traditional” way - and whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing.
Here’s one thing we do know - this new world could mean good news for the writers of short stories.
Today, we’ll explore this form - that used to have a home in dozens of magazines and journals before TV and movies began to dominate the ‘story’ landscape.
These days, it seems as though we know just about everything (probably more than we need to know) about the men who are running for President. Every gaffe and personal trait gets a full treatment on SNL and on Twitter.
But throughout history, our presidents have had some pretty interesting things about them.
The MacArthur Genius grants were just announced. One of them went to Junot Diaz, whom you will hear discussed today by me and short story writer Nathan Englander. So we're one degree of Kevin Bacon removed from a genius grant.
Mark Siegel, creator of "Sailor Twain," is doing wildly creative things with the graphic novel, which is doing widely creative things with the novel form iteself.
Siegel says the graphic novel is in a golden age, attracting writers not only from the book world, but from movies and television. And the work is starting to get noticed. In 2006, Gene Luen Yang's American Born Chinese, which Siegel published, was a finalist for the National Book Award.
Pete Seeger may be one of the most important folk singers of the 20th century. But he’s more than a musician – he’s a political activist and an environmentalist too. At age 93, he is still thriving. He was even featured on the Colbert Report in August.
One thing we mostly don't do on this show is interview an "author who has a book out." As you can probably imagine, that's just about the easiest show or segment to schedule. We're barraged all day every day with solicitations from publishers and publicists. And usually we say we won't do it, unless it fits into some larger theme we're working on.
Today we're breaking the rule for authors Luanne Rice and Joseph Kanon. One reason for that is that they're both old friends of mine, and Luanne was actually involved in the launching of this show three years ago.
Right now, you don't have to go more than a few days without Sherlock Holmes. I caught the second Robert Downey Jr. version on a plane a couple of weeks ago, and PBS's remarkable new version starring Benedict Cumberbatch opens up its second season Sunday night.
There's been a lot of talk lately about the failure of the Pulitzer board to award a prize in fiction this year, and so today we're taking an in-depth look at that. If it did nothing else, this unusual step taken by the committee got people talking in a very animated fashion about contemporary American fiction. People are trotting out their own favorites from last year and arguing about who really should get to make decisions like this one.
But one of the other questions worth asking is: What do we seek in great fiction?
Having a “high metabolism” is seen as a positive for humans...what about cities?
The idea of “urban metabolism” comes from a new book by Austin Troy, associate professor at the University of Vermont’s Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources. He’s the author of The Very Hungry City: Urban Energy Efficiency and the Economic Fate of Cities
The word "meme" is a great example of a meme and of a word that was very quickly and totally absorbed into the language.
Thinker Richard Dawkins proposed the word in 1976 to refer to a unit of information that can be passed around. My guess is that it sat pretty quietly until the 1990s until it became a perfect way to talk about the spread of ideas across the Internet. We would eventually coin another term for this: "going viral."
Few novelists of the past 50 years have enjoyed the huge success and lengthy renown of William Styron. With Sophie’s Choice, Lie Down in Darkness, and the Pulitzer Prize-winning The Confessions of Nat Turner, Styron established himself as a masterful chronicler of the American experience. But his gift for fiction came at a heavy price. The last twenty-five years of Styron’s life were marked by episodes of devastating depression, the first of which he documented with stunning candor in Darkness Visible: A Memoir of Madness.
"Never be deceived by a humorist, for if he is any good he is a deeply serious man moved by a quirk of temperament to speak a certain kind of truth in the form of jokes. Everybody can laugh at the jokes; the real trick is to understand them."
Alright, admit it - You didn't do the reading, did you? You were so busy baking the perfect apple crumble topped with burnt sugar and selecting the perfect Michael buble album for background music, that you prepared for everythning about the book club except actually finishing the book. So you'll have to fake it through another Cormac McCarthy, or Thomas McGuane or Patrick McGrath.
While I was working on the first "Connecticut Curiosities" book, a project I handed off eventually to Bill Heald and Susan Campbell, I found myself, one warm afternoon, deep in the woods of East Haddam looking for a giant stone clown head I had been assured, more than once, was lying out there.
Herman Melville knew he had written a difficult book to love. After Hawthorne praised it, Melville wrote back saying:
"You did not care a penny for the book. But, now and then as you read, you understood the pervading thought that impelled the book—and that you praised. Was it not so? You were archangel enough to despise the imperfect body, and embrace the soul."
The problem with the book is the problem with the whale. They're both too damned big. And the virtue of the book is the vice of Ahab. They are gloriously mad and unapologetically obsessive.
"Lay down some cover fire for me," I told Commander Troi, Buffy and Bill Curry. "I have to get back to Earth and do a show about fan fiction."
The vampire slayer and the busty Betazoid Starfleet counselor crouched behind the body of the slain Chewbacca while Curry scrambled to fetch the phasers and I activated the escape pod, setting the controls for the Dankosky Building on planet Earth in the Delta Quadrant. I hit warp speed and was gone in a flash.
We are all shaped by our genetic inheritance and by the environment we live in. Indeed, the argument about which of these two forces, nature or nurture, predominates has been raging for decades. But what about our very first environment—the prenatal world where we exist for nine months between conception and birth and where we are more vulnerable than at any other point in our lives?
For me, the champion of the nom de plume game will forever be Brian O'Nolan who wrote great modernist novels under the name Flann O'Brien and an important newspaper column in the Irish times under the pen name Miles nagCopaleen. (Miles of the Little Ponies.)
For years, the original manuscript of the novel Gone With the Wind was believed to have been destroyed. But as WNPR’s Diane Orson reports, the last four chapters recently re-appeared in a Southport, Connecticut library.
The Pulitzer Prize-winning Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell tells the sweeping story of a headstrong Scarlett O’Hara and her turbulent love affair with Rhett Butler – set against the backdrop of the Civil War. The film starring Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh received ten Academy Awards.